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Brian Wilson

In July 2019, I went into hospital to undergo an aortic valve replacement and the procedure was successful. However, early the next morning I developed a serious degree of AV heart block. My pulse rate was only 15 beats per minute at the time. I received shock treatment to start my heart beating regularly and shortly thereafter had an emergency operation to insert a temporary pacemaker. Since I then needed a permanent pacemaker, I went in for a third procedure the following evening.

I had depleted our medical aid benefits on the prosthetic heart valve and as a result, had no more funds to pay for the pacemaker. I had already paid a huge amount of R193 500.00 out of my own pocket for the valve, as the medical aid only paid about a third of the cost. Being an 84-year-old pensioner, this was a big chunk of my savings.

Whilst waiting to go into theatre for my permanent pacemaker, Carine from Biotronik and my Cardiologist said I was not to worry about the cost of the pacemaker, and I was then wheeled into theatre.

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Faan Botha

I am an ordinary farmer from the south of Gauteng, in a region called Bloemkomspruit. I live with my wife Elmari, we have no children due to cancer earlier on in our marriage.

In November 2013, during sowing season, I had a cold and promised my wife that I would go to the doctor once we had finished sowing. During the sowing, I was exposed to insecticide, and with the combination of the flu, it resulted in my immune system shutting down. My heart was attacked by a virus called Staphylococcus Aureus, which made my heart enlarge, and I ended up with cardiomyopathy.

I went from an active 45 year old farmer, to a bedridden old man in the span of two weeks. All the prognoses I received from the doctors and surgeons were bad, suggesting that I needed to put my name down for the heart transplant list. My heart was weak, a normal heart must have a fraction of 50% with each heart chamber, and mine was only at 15%.

In early 2014, we went to see Dr. Stanley, and he suggested I must get a CFG pacemaker. He said that sometimes, if the heart got bad, very fast, a pacemaker could get the heart to repair itself, but it only happened seldom. For the first time, Elmari and I received reasonably good news, which I was excited about. This excitement only lasted until I received the news that our medical aid, Fedhealth, were only prepared to pay R20 000 of the R180 000 needed for the device. We were devastated, we could not afford to pay it ourselves, for farming is tough in our country. I was not ready for a heart transplant, I was too young, and the odds of the transplant were not good. In 20% of cases, the body rejects the hearts, and there are no second chances.

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Wynand Odendaal

The Revived Pulse Foundation TRUST would like to acknowledge one of our endorsers, Wynand Odendaal.

In the year 2011, I had the mother of all heart attacks. My main artery collapsed, and it left my heart without oxygen for four hours. After saving my life, the doctor could only send me home to recover, because any further surgery would have hindered my recovery. My left heart muscle was seriously damaged. For months I was bed ridden and fighting the worst depression I ever came across, however, things began to improve. I started walking and miraculously, I began to feel life return.

The old lifestyle was gone and a new one began. Activities were restricted to walking, until my knees gave in and then the swimming started. There are always ways to support our bodies, if we put our minds to it! At this stage I had recovered 50% of my left heart muscle, all thanks to the walking and swimming program.

Every morning life started with a handful of medication. The most important of which were the blood thinners, a product called Waverin. Nobody told me how serve the medication’s side effects would be on my body. It was like pure poison, causing different side effects for different people. This made me realize that being a heart was most certainly not for sissies.
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